HWARANG-- EPISODE 20 (FINALE)
That's the most excited I've ever seen contestants in a relay race.
Jinheung, after explaining what he wants to accomplish as king, drops his blade and tells Moo Myung to strike. But Bird-dog severs his bracelet and stalks off. Jinheung captures Ah Ro as a hostage, Moo Myung makes a deal with Young Shil in a bid for the throne, and he also enlists Wi Hwa in his scheme. At the palace, Soo Ho witnesses the palace girl poisoning the Queen's tea and gets the news that she knew her tea was poisoned. Jinheung tries to order the Hwarang around, but Moo Myung tells him and the Hwarang they are free to decide who is king. The king becomes a laughing stock among the flower knights. When Jinheung finds out about the poison tea and what his mother sacrificed, he has the palace girl executed and weeps at his mother's sleeve. Later, the king reinstates Wi Hwa as an instructor.
The day of the abdication ceremony, Moo Myung leads the Hwarang in and drops the ruse. They've made their choice, and hail Jinheung as king in front of everyone. Young Shil is accused of treason, and his supporters are threatened. The next day, at the coronation, Jinheung dons the royal attire and pledges to put the people first. The Queen dies, but not before telling Ahn Ji that she loves him. Soo Ho sheds silent tears. Jinheung, in a letter, reveals to Ah Ro that he locked her away to protect her from Young Shil. Free, she runs to Moo Myung for an embrace and a kiss. Ban Ryu and Soo Hyun get back together. Six months later, Moo Myung returns to Silla and briefs Jinheung. The king admits that he regrets only seeing Moo Myung when there's a problem. So, the next day, five friends, including Jinheung and Moo Myung, mount horses and ride down the open road...
I love that expression. He has that "I'm so screwed" look absolutely nailed.
I'll admit: this episode was a total head game. I had no idea that Moo Myung was going to pull that stunt. They adroitly set up the first half of the episode making it seem like he was going to orchestrate a coup. And then he pulls the rug out from under us and endorses Jinheung. It just seemed like everything he did was designed to hurt the king in some way, to challenge his legitimacy. So it does make me wonder -- was this entirely his plan, and did he let Jinheung know about it? That definitely could have been made clearer.
I wish the Queen had lived, but instead, they default to the standard trope -- if you're over the age of 40, you've got one foot in the grave. I was glad that, in the end, she finally got a tiny bit of redemption, but I was hoping for more. I mean, you can write this any way you want, so why not make both her and Soo Ho happy? That the poison wears off, over time, or that Ahn Ji can flush it from her system. Those were the things going through my head. Idle flights of fancy, I know, but one more romance couldn't hurt, right?
"Whenever you're ready. Just toss the M&Ms and I'll try to catch them in my mouth."
Some props were not to my liking. There were a few scenes where things just looked really cheap. Maybe I wasn't supposed to look too close, but when plastic really does look like plastic in a historical drama, then you have some issues. And what was up with that crown that waved in the wind? Seriously? I'm sorry if I'm nitpicky, but I really got into this and wanted the last episode to be a real high point, and it pulls you right out of it when something doesn't fit.
I love the denouement. While the Queen's death left me cold, the friendship that remained, even after traitors were exposed and royalty established was a great feeling. Jinheung and Moo Myung's banter felt warm as always, and to have the other Hwarang still be friendly was one of those fuzzy moments that it's nice to see. I was hoping that they hadn't just forgotten about everyone else, so we got a neat sendoff at the end. Better that than hopeless and bleak.
He's happy his new Harry Potter wand arrived in the mail.
So, was it good? I think so. The plot deserves some serious points since I thought it was going to go one way and it changed directions out of nowhere. But it did so well, with a satisfying resolution. I loved watching Moo Myung hatch plans and then turn the tables on the traitors. Yeah, I bumped up the plot and the pacing. No surprises there.
So that's it. No more episodes for this one, though you can binge watch it if you need to. I might do that myself. Thanks for watching this with me!